St. Nicholas

A Lesson for today from Saint Nicholas

One of my deepest sadnesses is the way that the Church has gained a reputation for always wanting money. Services are punctuated with plates being passed round as though God is somehow "flat broke" and needs a "whip round" just to keep things going until next week. Nothing could be further from the truth.

God is the Sovereign Creator of everything, and as Psalm 24:1 rightly says, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it". There is nothing that exists that does not belong to God, and we are but stewards of what belongs to God. Let me try and illustrate what I mean with two pictures.

First of all, if you search the internet, it is possible to purchase a small piece of land on the moon. My question is, whilst I know that this is a bit of fun, what gives the person selling these plots of land the right to sell them? They have never been there. They have not staked any sort of claim. They are selling what they have no real right to sell. The moon belongs to God, He made it.

Secondly, I remember David Dickinson once showing an antique Grandfather Clock on Bargain Hunt, what he said made me think. Already that clock was several hundred years old and with the right care and attention it would continue working for several hundred years more. This meant that whoever bought it was not actually buying the clock; they were buying the right to be part of that clock's history. In other words they never really owned it; they were just involved in part of its life.

Once we change our perspective, we can begin to see the world around us very differently. For example, we don't actually own our money we are just stewards of it. Yes we work for it, but it is God who gives us our health and enables us to earn, if God took away our health our earning capacity would also be taken away. I'm sure we've all heard the story of the family who gathered in the solicitor's office for the reading of a rich uncle's will.

"How much did he leave?" Enquired one eager relative.
"Everything!" Replied the solicitor.

Everything we have is given to us by God and we are called by Him to do the best that we can. But this does not mean being hoarders. As God is generous, so He calls us to be generous. God loves a cheerful giver or, to paraphrase, God loves a hilarious giver, one who gives joyfully to cheer others. As far as I can see there are four benefits of giving cheerfully.

1. Giving is what God does, so when we give we reflect God's character which is what we were created to do.

2. Giving keeps our wealth in perspective, it stops us hoarding it and making an idol out of it. If we have no idols our relationship with God is kept pure.

3. Giving helps others, and it is practical.

4. Giving makes us feel good. It feels great to help someone in need. You will certainly feel much better if you help someone than if you pass by on the other side.

Please read:
Psalm 24 What does this Psalm say about having a right perspective and a clean heart?
James 2:14-17 and Luke 10:25-37... and yes, we have to talk about money, it is part of life.
Malachi 3:6-18

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